Next, contemplation is a little more restricted thinking. You only allow your thoughts to move inside a certain area, around a certain topic. You create a circle in your mind, and if your thoughts wander outside of it, you gently shepherd them back like some lost sheep. This allows your mind to penetrate a subject very deeply, and this is the mode that scientists and philosophers use most often.
You can contemplate the meaning of life, the meaning of death, or your very own nature. It is a useful tool on the spiritual path, but not the ultimate one. The problem with contemplation is that its source is still the mind, and the whole effort of spirituality is to go beyond the mind. So with contemplation you are running around in circles inside the mind, but never break out of the mind itself.
This is why philosophy is useless to get to know life, because you can get to know only the virtual world you created in your thoughts. It is the same reason why psychology is useless to get to know yourself, because it studies the mind, but your real self is beyond thoughts. This is also why science is useless for spiritual search, because it always moves outside to the world, and never inside to the self.
The philosopher’s stone can never be found, because the secret of immortality can never belong to a philosopher. The mind can only work with what it already knows, but the secrets lie in the field of the unknown. It is logical if you think about it: the secret is a secret, exactly because you don’t know it. Yet philosophers are magically hoping to get to know something new based on something old.
Many people confuse contemplation with meditation, specifically when they think that they were supposed to meditate upon something. But meditating upon something is the same as contemplation, because pure meditation doesn’t have any object. It is rather pure subjectivity. The energy of attention is not going out, but remaining inside.
Still, contemplation is a good practice before concentration. In concentration, you restrict your attention even more, to the point that you don’t allow it to move at all. One-pointed focus means exactly that: you focus on one point and one point only. You don’t let your thoughts wander around or go in circles. You stay at that point with your full attention.
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